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Choosing the Right Oil for Your Vehicle: Conventional vs. Synthetic

As a responsible car owner, choosing the best oil for your vehicle is an important decision. Two common types of oil are conventional oil and synthetic oil. While each types comes with advantages and disadvantages, here's what you need to know to make the right choice.

car mechanic changing the oil in vehicle

The Difference Between Conventional and Synthetic Oil

Conventional oil, or regular motor oil, is refined after it is removed from the ground as crude oil. Due to its natural origins, conventional oil does not have uniform molecules. In contrast, synthetic oil is a manufactured combination of base oil with uniform molecules, additives, and a carrier oil that distributes the additives. The main advantage of conventional oil is it costs less than synthetic. However, synthetic oil wins in other categories.

The Benefits of Synthetic Oil

A few advantages of synthetic oil include:

  • Reduced wear and friction on the engine
  • Better performance in extreme temperatures
  • Fewer emissions
  • Removes more engine sludge and deposits
  • Lasts longer than conventional oil
  • Better fuel and oil economy
  • Quicker engine start time

The Benefits of Conventional Oil

A few advantages of conventional oil include:

  • Easier to find and produce
  • Less expensive than synthetic oil
  • Provides reliable performance
  • Can be used in most cars, both newer and older models

Why Synthetic Oil Is Usually Right Choice

Vehicle owners should consult their owner's manual to better inform their choice of oil. According to the owner's manual of many newer vehicles, synthetic oil is required. Not complying with the requirement could void warranty coverage. According to recent AAA research, synthetic oil is the best choice for vehicles even if the owner's manual does not mandate it. During the study, researchers conducted eight industry-standard tests and found synthetic oil performed an average of 47 percent better than conventional oil. The study also concluded synthetic oil was particularly well-suited for vehicles that pull heavy loads, are frequently driven in stop and go traffic, or are driven during extremely hot or cold weather.

Experienced Auto Care Professionals

Custom Complete Automotive has been proud to serve the community since 1976. To learn more about which oil is best for your vehicle, or to schedule an oil change at one of our locations, contact us today!

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About the Author
Eric Riddles

Eric Riddles is an ASE Certified Master Automobile Technician who has been working as an auto mechanic since 1998 and originally joined the team at Custom Complete Automotive in 2005. Eric has numerous certifications in various aspects of car repair and spent 10 years training the next generation of auto technicians at a local high school Auto Shop classroom.

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